May 3, 2021
It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!
About a year ago, I made a video about Cypripedium acaule, the pink lady's slipper orchid. It's my favorite wildflower, and I'm happy to report that they're in bloom right now if you feel like going on a hunt to spot one! I did notice that there were far fewer this year versus last year; I'm blaming the recent late frost, although these plants are admittedly a bit particular when it comes to their requirements.
The pink lady's slipper can be found throughout much of the eastern third of the U.S. and many parts of Canada, extending from the Great Lakes down to Alabama and parts east in the U.S. Within its range, it can be found in a wide variety of habitats as long as those habitats meet certain requirements. It needs highly acidic soil, partial shade, and well-drained slopes. It also requires a fungus in order for the seeds to germinate.
Like many orchids, the flowers of the pink lady's slipper have a mechanical method of making sure their pollen attaches to insects! When insects crawl inside the flower, they brush past a sort of natural lever within the flower that presses the pollen onto them!
If you'd like to spot pink lady's slippers in bloom, now is the time to hit the woods! You'll have the most luck in pine forests, but they can also pop up in deciduous forests as long as their conditions are met. Happy hunting!
By the way, the subject of tomorrow's nature post is hiding in these pictures of the lady's slipper orchid. Can you spot it?
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com).
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!